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Banned Gambler Can’t Keep Jackpot, Court Says

(CN) - A gambler who was banned for damaging a slot machine can't keep the $9,387 jackpot he won while violating the ban, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino permanently banned Troy Blackford after he broke the glass on a slot machine in 1996. Blackford came back in 1998, and the casino ejected him.

Blackford pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for the first incident and to trespass for the second.

In 2006 Blackford returned to the casino and won $9,387 on the slot machines. He was forced to donate the winnings to the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program and was again charged with trespassing. This time, the trial court dropped the charge.

Blackford sued for conversion, claiming that he was entitled to keep the money. The trial court ruled for the casino, but Blackford's fortunes seemed to improve when the appeals court reversed, finding no law that allowed the casino to keep his winnings.

The case wound up in the state Supreme Court, where Justice David Baker ruled that the casino would prevail because it did not enter into a wagering agreement with Blackford.

"The jury found that the ban against Blackford had not been lifted, and, therefore, Prairie Meadows had not extended to him an offer to wager," Baker wrote.

"Because there was no offer to him, no contract could result. Without the contract, Blackford could not show a possessory interest in the jackpot, and his conversion action must fail," the court concluded.


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